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Arkansas Governor Pardons High-Profile Marijuana Offender

Posted on24. Nov, 2014 by .

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Arkansas Gov. Mike Beebe recently announced he intends to pardon a young man convicted of a marijuana-related felony. The governor emphasized the importance of having a chance to get one’s life back on track following such a conviction, especially for young people. Local press covering the pardon emphasized another aspect to this story: The young man is the governor’s son, Kyle Beebe. Kyle was convicted of “possession with intent to deliver marijuana” in 2003.

In 2012, over 5,700 people were either arrested or cited for marijuana possession. Another 555 people just like Kyle were charged with felonies related to marijuana. Only a fraction will have an opportunity like the one Kyle has. Instead, most will face a lifetime of discrimination: A criminal record that can hurt job prospects, housing, and educational opportunities – long after the court sentence is over.

Arkansas needs a better approach. Like 19 other states, it can remove possible jail time for simple possession, bringing relief to thousands. If you are an Arkansas resident, click here to ask your legislators to support imposing a civil fine — not a criminal conviction — for simple possession.

Even better, Arkansas should implement a system to tax and regulate marijuana for adults who choose a substance that is safer than alcohol — just like Alaska, Oregon, Washington, and Colorado. Why continue the reefer madness when there is now a better way?


MPP Blog

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46 States to Go, Help Us Legalize Marijuana!

Posted on22. Nov, 2014 by .

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Dear NORML Members and Supporters:

46 States to Go, Help Us Legalize Marijuana!

Please allow me to wax nostalgic for a moment or two about the wonderful progress we have all seen in recent years, with a majority of the country now supporting and end to prohibition, and the adoption of various forms of marijuana legalization in many states. The political environment was not always so favorable.

When we started NORML in 1970, only 12% of the population supported legalization; 88% supported prohibition. It has been a long, slow and sometimes arduous effort, but we have finally won the hearts and minds of most is our citizens, despite the fact that only 14% are marijuana smokers. They have concluded that prohibition causes far more harm to society than the use of marijuana, and that regulating the sale of marijuana is the better policy.

With our recent spate of victories at the state level, currently 17 states and the District of Columbia (and several major cities) have stopped treating marijuana smokers like criminals; 23 states and the District of Columbia offer legal medical marijuana; and four states have fully legalized marijuana with state-licensed dispensaries. We have reached a tipping point in the decades-long drive to legalize marijuana, and with your continued support, there is no turning back!

And we can already see the benefits: for the fourth year in a row the number of Americans arrested on marijuana charges has declined. And these declines will only increase as we move forward with victories in additional states. We expect full legalization voter initiatives to be approved in 2016 in California, Nevada, Massachusetts, and Maine (and perhaps a few others that are only now being organized).

NORML’s Work Has Just Begun

In each of these legalized states, the real job of NORML is just getting started. When I founded NORML it was the result of some work I had done with consumer-advocate Ralph Nader, and I envisioned the organization as a Consumers’ Union for marijuana smokers. As a consumer lobby, we must work to assure the smokers have access to legal marijuana that is safe, convenient and affordable. We must demand that the marijuana be tested to assure there are no molds or pesticides, and we need to know the strength of the THC and the CBD, and to know what terpenoids are present. These are basic consumer rights that we could not get when marijuana was only available on the black market, but which we have every right to expect in a legal market.

And to encourage the newly legal marijuana industry to abide by a set of “best practices”, we have established the NORML Business Network, to help consumers recognize “consumer-friendly” companies. As in any new industry, there are some whose only interest is to maximize their profits, but many of these new companies feel a responsibility to adopt higher standards. The NORML Business Network will help consumers distinguish between the two.

4 Down – 46 To Go!

We obviously have much work to be done before we totally end marijuana prohibition and stop the arrest of responsible marijuana smokers all across America. But we have made a substantial start, and the public support and political momentum is clearly on our side. With your continued support, we will see this fight through to a successful conclusion, and set a standard for the rest of the world to follow.

Please make a generous contribution to NORML today of $ 50 or $ 100 or $ 1,000 or whatever you can afford. If you wish to make a tax-exempt contribution, make your donation to the NORML Foundation. But please do your part to recognize the tremendous progress we have made over these last four decades, and to assure we continue that progress in the months and years ahead. Donate $ 50 or more and receive the new documentary DVD called ‘EVERGREEN: The road to marijuana legalization in Washington State’.

Thanks for being a part of this important campaign to legalize marijuana in America.

Donate to NORML Tax Deductible Donation to NORML Foundation

Regards,

Keith Stroup
NORML Founder and Legal Counsel

NORML Blog, Marijuana Law Reform

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Legal Marijuana In Oregon: A Look At The State’s Pot History

Posted on21. Nov, 2014 by .

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Oregon voted Nov. 4 to legalize marijuana, the latest and most significant milestone in the state’s long history with pot. Here’s a look at key dates:

1973: Oregon becomes the first state to decriminalize possession of small amounts of marijuana, making it a ticket more akin to a traffic offense.

1998: Oregon voters approve marijuana for medicinal use. The program allows people with certain qualifying medical conditions to grow their own marijuana or have someone do it for them. Patients in the program are allowed to possess up to three mature plants, four immature plants and up to one ounce of marijuana.

2004: Oregon voters reject ballot measure that would allow retail sales of medical marijuana to patients.

2005: Oregon Legislature increases the possession and plant limits under the medical marijuana program. Patients can possess up to 24 ounces and grow a total of six mature plants and 18 immature ones. The legislature also creates grow site registry and a card for people responsible for the grow site. The law includes a provision allowing growers to be reimbursed for the cost of utilities and supplies but not labor.

2010: For a second time, Oregon voters turn down a ballot measure that would allow retail sales of medical marijuana.

2012: Oregon voters reject Measure 80, a marijuana legalization effort that set no limits on personal possession and cultivation for people 21 and older.

2012: Oregon lawmakers approve a medical marijuana dispensary registry system, regulating an already robust retail market for medical cannabis. (According to the Oregon Health Authority, which oversees the dispensary program, 196 establishments have been licensed since March, 89 of them in Portland.) The legislature makes it a misdemeanor for possessing more than an ounce and less than four ounces, previously considered a felony. The legislature also repeals a law that suspended the driver’s license of a person cited for possessing less than an ounce of marijuana.

2013: The Oregon Legislature passes law allowing local governments to impose moratoriums on medical marijuana dispensaries for up to a year. Lawmakers also required the Oregon Health Authority to draft rules addressing labeling and packaging of marijuana-infused edibles to make them unattractive to children.

2014: Oregon voters say yes to legal marijuana, two years after Colorado and Washington did the same. The law allows anyone 21 and older to possess and grow marijuana and it creates a taxed and regulated system for retail sales.

July 1, 2015: Changes to the criminal statutes take effect. People 21 and older will be allowed to possess up to 1 ounce of marijuana in a public place and up to 8 ounces in their home. The law also allows up to four marijuana plants per household.

Jan. 1, 2016: The Oregon Liquor Control Commission must have rules in place for the production, processing and sale of marijuana.

Jan. 4, 2016: State must begin receiving licensing applications for production, processing and sale of marijuana. The law does not specify when the state must begin issuing licenses or when stores will open; marijuana advocates expect stores to open sometime in the first half of 2016.

News Moderator – The General @ 420 MAGAZINE ®
Source: Oregonlive.com
Author: Noelle Crombie
Contact: Contact Us
Website: Legal marijuana in Oregon: A look at the state’s pot history | OregonLive.com

420 MAGAZINE ®

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Opinion: Hemp Harvest Legal In Colorado For First Time

Posted on19. Nov, 2014 by .

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Boosters of industrial hemp often fondly refer to the plant as a wonder crop, usable in everything from building materials to batteries to breakfast cereal. Since Colorado voters legalized both hemp and marijuana with the passage of Amendment 64 in 2012, hemp advocates have been buzzing about the state’s promise as a manufacturing hub for this dizzying array of products.

Yet even as Colorado farmers made history this fall with the first legal commercial hemp harvest on U.S. soil in 57 years, it’s unlikely that much of their bounty will go toward the plant’s diverse list of potential uses. Instead, hobbled by a longstanding federal ban on shipping hemp seed across state lines, most Colorado hemp farmers are squirreling away their seed supply, using this year’s harvest as a source of next year’s supply in an attempt to vastly increase planted acreage in 2015 with Colorado-grown seed stock.

“In an ideal world, we’d grow between 1,500 and 2,000 acres of hemp next year,” said J.R. Knaub, a 37-year-old farmer in Sterling who has been growing corn, sugar beets and alfalfa for the last 20 years and this year planted around 2 acres of hemp. “But getting seed will be the biggest task we have to conquer.”

The federally induced seed shortage has already stunted the growth of Colorado’s hemp industry: Last spring, farmers registered with the Colorado Department of Agriculture to plant nearly 1,600 acres of hemp. Yet seed shortages, poor germination rates and inexperience with the crop limited their harvest this fall to about 200 acres, according to Zev Paiss of the Rocky Mountain Hemp Association. “This year, because it was so hard to get seed, people were buying whatever they could get a hold of, and it wasn’t always the best seed,” said Paiss. “Because of that, I’ve heard that the amount of germination farmers achieved varied widely.”

Farmers saving hemp seeds
In light of the shortage, Colorado hemp farmers appear to be prioritizing seed saving this fall over other potential uses for their hemp crops. The state Department of Agriculture requires hemp farmers to submit a form at least 30 days before harvest detailing what they plan to do with their plants, and as of late September, 27 farmers had written that they plan to use their crop primarily for seed saving purposes. Just 14 farmers had plans to experiment with making construction materials, textiles, medicines and other hemp-based products, and only one farmer planned to sell seed to other growers this fall.

“We are at the very beginning of rebuilding a complicated industry,” said Paiss. “All the farmers are going to be holding on to their seed this year and building seed stock. There will be almost no seed available for sale to new businesses [next] year.”

The federal ban on hemp has its roots in the Controlled Substances Act of 1970. The act made it illegal to transport the plant or its seeds across state lines without a permit from the Drug Enforcement Administration, which can be hard to get. Since Colorado voters legalized industrial hemp in 2012, farmers have found ways to import seed from other countries, but many are reluctant to discuss the details of those legally nebulous arrangements. Plus, there’s no guarantee that seeds they import from hemp-producing nations like Canada and China will successfully clear U.S. Customs.

There are cracks forming in the façade of federal hemp prohibition: The 2014 farm bill contained a provision allowing colleges and universities to cultivate industrial hemp for research purposes without fear of federal interference, and 19 states have laws on the books permitting such pilot projects, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Eight of those states, including Colorado, California, Maine, Montana, North Dakota, Oregon, Vermont and West Virginia have passed laws removing barriers to more widespread hemp production.

If Colorado farmers can save hemp seed successfully this fall, the acreage planted there next spring should grow substantially from this year’s levels. Paiss says that the seed saved from 2 acres of industrial hemp should be enough to plant at least 20 acres next year, which he says is a conservative estimate. Bill Billings, president of the Colorado Hemp Project, says depending on the hemp variety and production methods, an acre worth of seed could be enough for 100 acres next year. Even if the ban on seed transport persists, farmers will likely continue smuggling seed from abroad next year to supplement what they can grow.

And despite the seed shortage, there are some plans afoot to use part of this year’s hemp harvest for research and development — it is possible, after all, to save some seed while putting the rest of the plant to immediate use. Over the next few years, Colorado entrepreneurs are hoping to build processing plants to make hemp-based pharmaceuticals, textiles, energy drinks and myriad other products.

Billings says he’s working with a Boulder, Colorado-based company to develop hemp-based carbon electrodes for batteries and other applications that could make expensive materials like graphene unnecessary. Ryan Laughlin, the farmer who harvested a much-publicized hemp crop on his Springfield, Colorado farm in 2013 before state hemp regulations were finalized, is selling this year’s harvest to Cannabis Therapy Corp. of Boulder, which makes hemp and cannabis-based pharmaceuticals. And a firm called American Hemp Ventures recently won approval to build an experimental hemp processing plant in Logan County in the eastern part of the state.

Over time, the hope is to replace many imported hemp products with domestically produced alternatives. “Right now we import $ 580 million per year in hemp products into the U.S.,” said Paiss. “We are talking about tapping into a half-billion dollar industry over the next few years.

News Moderator – The General @ 420 MAGAZINE ®
Source: Denverpost.com
Author: Nelson Harvey
Contact: Contact Us
Website: Hemp harvest legal in Colo. for first time – The Denver Post

420 MAGAZINE ®

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